BANBURY Bulls and Oxford Quins are well aware Saturday’s derby could decide the destination of the South West 1 East title.

The Oxfordshire duo have been near-unstoppable this season, losing just three out of 42 games combined.

Quins’ only defeat came in the return fixture at Bodicote Park earlier in the campaign, which Banbury edged 23-17.

But the north Oxfordshire side lead the table by a point with five matches remaining, owing to a five-point deduction for their opponents carried over from last year.

It is all set up for a mouth-watering contest at Horspath Sports Ground, with Quins’ first and second XVs of a quarter of a century ago attending as part of the club’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

“It’ll be a good crowd and a great atmosphere,” said director of rugby Stuart Wells.

“Obviously you want to treat every weekend like it’s another match, but ultimately this is a very big game.

“A local derby always increases the expectation and the pressure.

“People might expect Banbury to be favourites with their track record, but we like being the underdogs.

“We’ve got the best coaching team Quins have ever had and we’re in as good a position as we could be.”

It is potentially the defining weekend in the title race and not just because of events in Oxfordshire.

Bracknell, in third, sit just a point behind Quins and have a tricky trip to Newbury Blues, the team immediately below them.

The top three sides at the end of the season are guaranteed promotion and Banbury director of rugby Matt Goode will remind his players of this before the game.

He said: “It’s the biggest game of the season for the title race.

“Yes, it’s a local derby, but if Bracknell win against Newbury (and Banbury lose) we could go third.

“I just want to see the boys perform.

“We know in this league three teams go up, so I’m trying to take some of the pressure off the boys.

“It’s too close to call, we know Quins are an outstanding side. They’re dangerous, well-drilled and well-coached.

“Quins can beat anyone on their day, so we need to be switched on from minute one to 80.

“We know it’s going to be a hell of a game.”

Elsewhere in South West 1 East, Grove host Buckingham and Witney travel to Trowbridge.

In National League 1, Chinnor will rack up the miles this weekend as they go to Plymouth Albion.

The Thame-based side claimed a confidence-boosting win over basement boys Tonbridge Juddians last time out and Saturday’s opponents are only two positions higher in 13th.

Fifth visit third in National 2 South as Henley Hawks travel to Worthing in their bid to make up ground on the top four.

Gosford All Blacks host Reading in Southern Counties North, while Wallingford entertain Marlow and Bicester go to Reading Abbey.